Thursday, August 29, 2019


I've had a lot of luck researching my Dad's New England roots, but not so much with Mom's irish and German ancestry. However, I've had some breakthroughs on the German side of her family. Here's what I already knew about them.

My Mom's paternal grandmother's maiden name was Pauline Offinger. In the Massachusetts Marriages 1695-1910 collection at  FamilySearch I learned that Pauline was born in Cambridge, that her father was Charles Offinger and her mother was "Johanna C.".

Also from FamilySearch I learned Charles was Karl J. Offinger, born in Wurtemburg, Germany in 1848 to Jacob Offinger and his wife Christiana. Johanna was Johanna C. Luick, daughter of Christian Luick and his wife Christina. She also was born in Wurtemburg but four years earlier than Charles. I found records of the births of their children in the Massachusetts Births and Christenings 1639-1915 collection, and records of their deaths and  the deaths of two of their sons, Frederick and William, in the Massachusetts Deaths and Burials 1695-1910. Three children lived to be married : Albert, Julia, and great grandmother Pauline.

Next I went over to the New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957 I found the image of the passenger list for the ship Deutschland showing that Charles and Johanna arrived in New York City from Bremen on 13Jun 1870. I found the census records for 1870,1880 and 1900 for them and also the census records for their children Julia and Albert. Then I found entries for them in the City Directories.

But I kNew very little about the parents and families of Karl Offinger and Johanna Luick before they came to America, That changed this past weekend.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


This is the last of my "witch lists" of ancestors and relatives who had some connection to the witch trials: I made the lists with the help of  In The Shadow of Salem: he Andover Witch Hunt of 1692 by Richard Hite and by using Custom Tags I created on my  tree using the MyTreeTags app:


Joseph Herrick-8x great grandfather


Henry Herrick-9x great grandfather

VICTIMS (supposedly killed by witchcraft)

Ralph Farnum Sr-9x great grandfather

Elizabeth Phelps-8x great grandaunt

A few thoughts:
The lists are a work in progress. As I add  more siblings and extend consanguineous lines I suspect I will find more relatives involved with the witch trials.

As it is, I am struck by how many of my ancestors were involved. I knew about a few of them already, especially Rebecca (Blake) Ames/Eames and Mary (Towne) Easty/Esty who were my direct ancestors. But there were other things that came as a surprise, such as the death of Ralph Farnum Sr. supposedly being  a result of witchcraft. I also was unaware of my connection to Martha (Allen)Carrier.

As I find other connections, I will be blogging about them here.

Monday, August 26, 2019


Here's the list I've made of my ancestors and relatives from Andover, Ma who opposed the witch trials by signing petitions  There are some who earlier had made accusations of witchcraft against others,

I made this list using's MyTreeTag function

Thomas Chandler Sr.-9x great grandfather
Thomas Chandler Jr-8x great granduncle
John Chandler-8x great granduncle
William Chandler-10x great granduncle
Francis Dane Sr.-9x great grandfather
Francis Dane Jr-8x great grandfather
Nathaniel Dane-8x great granduncle
Phebe Dane-8x great grandaunt
Oliver Holt-7x great granduncle
Mary Holt-8x great grandaunt
Joseph Herrick-8x great granduncle
Thomas Johnson- Mary Holt's husband
George Abbott-9x great granduncle
John Abbott-8x great grandfather
William Abbott-9x great granduncle
Ephraim Stevens-8x great grandfather
Joseph Stevens-9x great granduncle
Benjamin Stevens-9x great granduncle
Hannah (Poor)Dane-8x great grandmother
Henry Ingalls Sr.-7x great grandfather
Henry IngallsJr.-6x great grandfather
John Ingalls-7x great granduncle
Samuel Ingalls-7x great granduncle
John Barker-7x great granduncle
Ebenezer Barker-7x great granduncle
Samuel Endecott--8x great grandfather
Christopher Osgood-Hannah Barker's husband
Nathaniel Felton-9x great grandfather
Joseph Robinson-married to Mehitabel Ames.

Sunday, August 25, 2019


Here's the list of my ancestors or relatives who were witnesses/accusers in the Salem witch trial. I made this using the MyTreeTags on my family tree at Some of them would later sign petitions to support the prisoners.

Thomas Chandler-9x great grandfather
Hannah (Brewer) Chandler-9x great grandmother
Sarah (Farnum)Abbott-8x great grandmother 
 Benjamin Abbott-8x great grandfather
Jeremiah Swain-9x great grandfather
Ralph Farnum-8x great grandfather
John Farnum-8x great granduncle
Samuel Farnum-8x great granduncle
Joseph Ballard-9x great granduncle
Elizabeth Ballard--9x great grandaunt
Sarah Phelps-7x great grandaunt
Robert Swan-6x great granduncle
John Swan-6x great granduncle
Timothy Swan -6x great granduncle
Hannah (Foster) Ames- 8x great grandaunt
Ephraim Foster-married to Hannah Ames
Allen Toothaker-2nd cousin 7x removed


Here's the list I've made of my ancestors and relatives from Andover, Ma who were tried for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. Three of them were executed. I made this list using's MyTreeTag function

Accused Witches

Mary (Towne) Estey-9x great grandmother- (executed)
Rebecca (Towne)Nurse 9x great grandaunt (executed)
Sarah (Towne)Cloyce 9x great grandaunt
Rebecca (Blake) Ames-9x great grandmother
Sarah (Hooper) Wardwell-widow of 10x great grandfather Adam Hawkes
Samuel Wardwell husband of Sarah (Hooper)Wardwell (executed)
Sarah Hawkes-9x great grandaunt
Abigail (Wheeler)Barker--wife of 8x great granduncle
William Barker Sr-7x great granduncle
William Barker Jr.-1st cousin 8x removed
Mary Barker-1st cousin 8x removed
Daniel Ames-8x great granduncle
Abigail (Dane)Faulkner-9x great aunt
Elizabeth (Dane)Johnson-9x great aunt
Dorothy Faulkner-1st cousin 9x removed
Abigail Faulkner-1st cousin 9x removed
Elizabeth Johnson-1st cousin 9x removed
Stephen Johnson-1st cousin 9x removed
Rose Foster-1st cousin 9x removed
Deliverance  (Hazeltine)-wife of 9th great-uncle
Mary (Allen) Hazeltine-1st cousin 8x removed
Martha (Allen)Carrier 1st cousin 8x removed
Roger Toothaker-Mary Allen's husband
Mercy Wardwell-step 10x great aunt

Friday, August 23, 2019


 I wrote recently about using the MyTreeTags to make a list of my ancestors who were all blacksmiths. Then a few weeks back I bought a book, In The Shadow Of Salem: The Andover Witch Hunt of 1692 by Richard Hite. Now I have many ancestors who lived in Andover, Ma. during that period and some were involved in the Trials. Two of my direct ancestors wereb among the accused, one of whom was hung. I also knew some were witnesses against those accused. I decided I wanted to make lists of who was who.

Mr. Hite's book is excellent and the many Appendices about the families involved were very helpful.Using them I created Custom Tags on my tree and then tagged each Ancestor ancestor and relagtive with the appropriate Tag. These are the labels I used:

Accused Witch
Executed as Witch
Opposed Witch Trials
Witch Trial Constable
Witch Trial Juror
Witch Trial Witness
Witch victim

There are some complications, because in some cases an ancestor was an accuser but late came to oppose the trials and signed a petition against the Trials. It's also a work in progess as I add collateral lines. But it's a start. I call them the "witch lists" and I'll discuss them in the next few posts.

And if you have relatives from the Witch Trial era who lived in Andover, ou should get a copy of Richard Hite's book.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


8x great grandfather John Pierce was a farmer and a leading citizen of Woburn, Ma. It's interesting to see how he and other of my ancestors were farmers in places that are now largely urban centers.

Here's  how Ellery Bickford described him:

(III) Ensign John Pierce, son of Thomas (2) Pierce, was born May 7, 1643. He was a yeoman and lived in Woburn, Massachusetts. His will was dated April 26, 1716, and lodged Friday, April 8, 1720; he mentioned his wife and children, and the children of his deceased daughter, Deborah Wilson, naming his son Josiah as executor. He married, July 5, 1663, Deborah Convers, born July 25, 1647. Children, born in Woburn: Deborah, October 30, 1666; John, January 26, 1671; Thomas, born December 23, 1673; James, August 6, 1674, died September 13, 1685; Daniel, October 7, 1676; James, October 8, 1686; Ebenezer, 1687; Joseph, August 24, 1688; Ruth, 1690; Josiah, mentioned below.-p1529

  Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County,   Massachusetts: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 3  Lewis Publishing Company, New York, N.Y.1914

Friday, August 16, 2019


My 8x great grandfather Thomas Pierce Jr. came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a teenager with his parents. He became one of the first citizens of what is now  Woburn Massachysets and with his wife raised a large family.

Here's what Ellery Bickford Crane wrote about him:

(II) Thomas Pierce, Jr., son of Thomas Pierce (1), was born in England in 1608; married, May 6, 1635, Elizabeth Cole, who died March 5, 1688. He died November 6, 1683. They resided in Charlestown in the part now Woburn. He is called sergeant in the records, indicating military prominence. He was the progenitor of President Franklin Pierce, viz.: Franklin (VII), Benjamin (VI), Benjamin (V), Stephen (IV), Stephen (III), Thomas (II), Thomas (I). Sergeant Thomas Pierce was admitted to the Charlestown Church February 21, 1634. He was an inhabitant of Woburn as early as 1643. He was selectman in 1660, and served on the committee to divide the common lands. He was one of the "Right Proprietors" elected March 28, 1667, and also of the committee of the general court appointed 1668 to divide lands, etc. The children: Abigail, born August 17, 1639; John, March 7, 1643, married, July 5, 1663, Deborah Converse; Thomas, June 21, 1645, married, 1680, Rachel Bacon; Elizabeth, December 25, 1646, married, November 9, 1666, Thomas Whittemore, and died March 10, 1670; Joseph, September 22, 1646, died February 27, 1649; Stephen, July 16, 1651, married, November 18, 1676, Tabitha Parker; Samuel, February 20, 1654, died October 27. 1655; Samuel, April 7, 1656, see forward; William. March 20, 1658, married, April 8, 1690, Abigail Sommers, nee Warren; James, May 7, I659, married Elizabeth Kendall; Abigail, Novem20, 1660, married February 18, 1684, George Reed, Jr.; Benjamin, married Mary Reed.-p449

 Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County,   Massachusetts: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 1  Lewis Publishing Company, New York, N.Y.1907

So apparently I'm a distant cousin of President Franklin Pierce!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Thomas Pierce/Peirce was my 9x great grandfather and another of my colonial immigrant ancestors. I've found his probate file at and while his will is  fairly easy to read, the inventory was written on both sides of another sheet of paper and the ink leaked through, so it's difficult to make out the items of his estate.

Ellery Bickford Crane wrote this brief biographical sketch about Thomas:

Thomas Pierce came from England in 1633 or 1634 with his wife Elizabeth and settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts. His wife Elizabeth was admitted to the church January 10, 1634, and he was admitted February 21, 1634-35. He was admitted a freeman May 6, 1635. He was one of the twentyone commissioners appointed September 27, 1642, "to see that salt peter heaps were made by the farmers of the colony." He removed to Woburn and was a proprietor there in 1643 and was elected to town offices. His wife Elizabeth was born in England, 1595-96. She stated'her age as seventy-one 1n 1667. He died October 7, 1666. His will was dated November 7, 1665, aged about eighty-two years. He bequeathed to wIfe Elizabeth, grandchildren Mary Bridge and Elizabeth Jeffs now dwelling with him; to all grandchildren; to Harvard College. The widow deposed to the inventory March 22, 1666-67, aged seventy-one years. The children: John, mariner, admitted to church at Charlestown, 1652; Samuel,married Mary ;Thomas, Jr., see forward; Robert, married, February 18, 1657, Sarah Eyre;Mary, married Peter Jeffs and had Elizabeth; Elizabeth, married Randall and Nichols; Persis, married William Bridge and had child Mary; married (second) John Harrison; she was admitted to the church at Charlestown November 30, 1643; Abigail, born June 17, 1639.-p449

Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 1  Lewis Publishing Company, New York, N.Y.1907

The reference to a salt peter commission reflects the importance to the colonists of making their own gunpowder because of the conflicts with Indians and the French to the north,

Sunday, August 11, 2019


My 5x great Meriah (Peirce/Pierce) Houghton shared  Houghton, Prescott, and Sawyer ancestry with her husband Elisha Houghton. She was descended from immigrant ancestor Thomas Peirce, but she also had ancestors from some of my other family lines that I've touched on already: Ballard, Cole, Converse, Holt, Long, and Moore. Here's a relationship chart for Thomas and Meriah.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019


One of the biggest problems Plimouth Plantation faced in its early years was a crippling debt it owed to investors bad suppliers back in England. fortunately,this was the period when beaverskin garments were in vogue so the Plantation turned to the fur trade to improve its finances. This involved setting up a  post on the Kennebec River to trade for furs with the local Native Americans. But this new venture by Plymouth was challenged by a newer, younger settlement in Maine, the Piscataqua Plantation, and blood would be shed over it. My ancestor John Howland and fellow Pilgrim Father John Alden were involved in the incident.

I found the following account in a magazine article,  "The Pilgrim Fathers on the Kennebec" by Emma Huntington Nason  online in an Googlebook edition of New England Magazine, vol.30 March 1904.:

One of the first agents in command of the Plymouth trading-post was John Howland. Among all the notable men of the colony there was no one who bore a fairer record for bravery, efficiency and general usefulness than this sturdy youth from Essex County; and with his "military turn" and adventurous spirit Howland was well fitted for the administration of the business of the colony in this important location. He was, moreover, one of the company responsible for the public debt, and therefore especially interested in the success of the enterprise on the Kennebeck. We also find John Howland and John Alden frequently associated in the affairs of Plymouth ; and in May of the year 1634, while Howland was in command at Koussinoc, John Alden came from Plymouth to bring supplies to the trading-post. The spring trade was just then opening with the Indians. One by one the great canoes glided down from the head waters of the Kennebec laden with the hunters' spoils, and a very profitable season was anticipated. It was at this time, at the height of prosperity of the Plymouth company, that the tragic Hocking affair occurred.

It seems that the Piscataqua Plantation had become very jealous of the success of the Pilgrim traders who held complete and absolute jurisdiction over the territory in the vicinity of Koussinoc for fifteen miles up and down the river, thus controlling all the trade which came from Moosehead Lake; and having determined to secure a portion of this trade, Piscataqua sent John Hocking to intercept the Indian canoes as they came down from the lakes.

Hocking boldly sailed up the Kennebec and anchored above the Plymouth post. Howland at first went out in his barque and remonstrated with Hocking for thus infringing on the Plymouth rights, but receiving only abusive threats in reply, he ordered Hocking to drop below the Plymouth limits. Hocking refused, and Howland sent three men in a canoe to cut Hocking's cables. The old Plymouth records state that these men were "John Irish, Thomas Rennoles and Thomas Savory." They cut one of Hocking's cables and then, as their canoe drifted down the stream, Howland ordered Moses Talbot to get into the canoe and cut the other rope. Talbot accordingly went "very reddyly," and brought the canoe back within range of Hocking's vessel. Hocking, standing on deck, carbine and pistol in hand, first presented his piece at Thomas Savory; but the canoe swung around with the tide, and Hocking put his carbine almost to Moses Talbot's head. Then Howland, springing upon the rail of his barque, shouted to Hocking not to shoot the men who were only obeying orders, but to take him for his mark, saying that he surely "stood very fayre." But Howland's bravery was in vain for Hocking would not hear, but immediately shot Talbot in the head. Whereupon, "a friend of Talbot's, who loved him well," seized a musket and returned the fire; and Hocking "was presently strook dead being shott neare the same place in the head where he had murderously shot Moyses."

John Alden, although at the trading-post at the time this unfortunate affair took place, had no connection with it. He soon returned to Plymouth, and being in Boston a few weeks later, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Massachusetts magistrates to answer for Hocking's death. The Plymouth people were very angry at this unwarrantable interference in their affairs, and the indomitable Myles Standish at once started for Boston and effected Alden's release. Righteous Boston, however, insisted upon an investigation of the matter, and requested all the plantations, especially Piscataqua, to send delegates to the hearing. But after all their efforts none of the plantations invited, not even Piscataqua where Hocking belonged, manifested sufficient interest to send a representative. Winslow and Bradford appeared in behalf of Plymouth, and Winthrop and Dudley represented Massachusetts. Two or three ministers were also present, and after mature deliberation it was decided that the Plymouth men acted in selfdefense and that Hocking alone had been to blame. The sad story of this early tragedy on the Kennebec is relieved only by Howland's dash of bravery, and the touching loyalty of Talbot's friend "who loved him well"; but it is of especial interest in this connection because it proves that John Howland and John Alden were both at the Kennebec trading-post in 1634


Friday, August 02, 2019


After my recent posts about my 9x great grandfather Thomas Dexter I thought I'd post a descent chart from Thomas down to my Dad. Much of it is people from Barnstable County on Cape Cod